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10 Unexpected Ways to Save Money When Stuck at Home

I’m trying to find a little sliver of good in our current bad situation when it comes to quarantine and staying at home which frankly is an excellent way to save money. While we’re stuck at home some on going expenses are automatically reduced for us: we’re getting 3 months to the gallon on a tank of gas, my husband’s gym membership payments are suspended because it is closed, and our little adventures like taking Lacey for a walk in our favorite park and grabbing a meal or drink on a dog friendly patio afterward are off the table for now. Other money saving tips like cooking  from scratch and eating meals at home are business as usual for us but might be new to you. 

Even so, there are still several ways we are rolling with it while also finding a few more money saving tips we can do now that we have a little more time and most importantly looking for more things to do.

 

10 Unexpected Ways to Save Money

 

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1. I bought a box of produce from a local wholesaler who put an extra ten dollars worth of vegetables in every box they sold which was a nice surprise (they put a note inside the box) since we were more about shopping a local business that like so many of us had to pivot when their university and restaurant customers closed for quarantine. Also it is a guarantee of fresh veg when grocery stores are hit and miss right now. It is also providing us with a little Quarantine Project because we’re attempting to to sprout and grow the lettuce, celery, and cabbage from the ends instead of normally putting them in the compost bin. Hopefully Pinterest will have steered us in the right direction where we can plant them in our container garden and solve the problem of not deciding what to plant in our container garden this year. If you have any tips on this please let me know in the comments below!

        

how to grow vegetables from scraps

This is what passes for entertainment when you are self distancing from the world.

Several photos in this post are courtesy of my DIY blog Condo Blues.

 

 

2. My husband and I have been doing a weekly take out date night since regular date nights out are not happening.  By sticking to the same delivery app (which is the only way we can get a food delivery where we live) we earned  a UberEats reward that I didn’t know they offered until now because previously we only used Uber when we were on vacation. I also learned you can get a 5% Ibotta rebate  on UberEats if you open the UberEats App in Ibotta before ordering (you can learn more about Ibotta through my referral link here) – good to know. Also, by concentrating on ordering from local restaurants that in some cases are now doing takeout to survive, we are discovering some new places to enjoy once it is safe to do so in person.

 

3. After reading a ton of books I finally got around the reading and looking for something a little different to do, I did some deep closet dives to discover everything old is new again or at least when it come to board games and our (only) game console.  I had an itch to play some old Wii games that force you to get up and move to play and didn’t realize the Wii had been unplayed for so long that we can’t connect it to our new TV. I bought this HDMI adapter for our old Wii console (much cheaper than than replacing the whole thing) and hooked it up to our new TV and forgot why we stopped playing these games in the first place.

 

The best Halloween of our lives was the year my husband and I went as Raving Rabbids.

We spent the entire evening talking gibberish and screaming BWAAAAAA! at random intervals. It was a character, not a costume.

 

4.   I'm trying to be productive during our quarantine lock down by sewing the personal projects that got pushed way down my To Do List when paying gigs came my way and took precedence. So far I made an Elizabethan chemise and quilted skirt to wear under my costume when it is cold (just like they did back in the day! It’s all about the layers to stay warm,) a new summer blouse,  and face masks for my husband and myself, family and friends from fabric left in my stash – all “free” projects since I already had everything I needed to do them.

 

I bought this remnant of quilted fabric for $1.99 and let the amount of fabric determine how long the petticoat would be. I can also wear in my regular life as a skirt with boots in the winter.

 

I finally installed the new hallway light I bought on sale in January and also got shoved down my personal Honey Do List when the world exploded. One more builder light banished two more to go!

 

5. After all that sewing, I had to take my workhorse sewing machine in for repair and  my backup sewing machine when it decided it wanted a break too . I started making and selling cloth face masks with a loaner sewing machine to offset the repair costs since both machines need new parts and is turning out to be a little more expensive than I thought. If you want to buy my face masks you can do so here.

  

The dust masks I currently listed have fabric ties but I can make them with elastic if you want.

 

6.  After using up our free trial deliveries we did the math and we bought an Instacart Express Member subscription (learn more through my referral link here) which has already paid for itself since Aldi tacks on extra fees without it and Meijer’s delivery service also has extra fees and is so overloaded you can’t get a delivery slot.  I’d rather shop in person so I can pivot on my grocery list when I need to but as of now, I don’t see us grocery shopping in person in the unforeseeable future.  We have a year to revisit the membership when hopefully it will be safer to grocery shop in person and we can cancel it -  or not, because it has already spoiled us rotten!

 

Groceries!

 

7.  We bought a bidet seat attachment like this kind for our master bathroom remodel and has been sitting in the garage with some of the other items we’ve collected for the project and is now on indefinite hold. In the meantime I got the opportunity to work with another bidet company on my DIY blog Condo Blues which included installing their product in our powder room.  We like the product (and not because it was free) and were surprised how little toilet paper we used in that bathroom as a result. In the interest of conserving what is  now more precious than gold - toilet paper  –  we installed the bidet attachment early in the master bathroom.  It will be easy to uninstall and reinstall on the new toilet when the time comes.

 8. We’re trying to maximize the time in between grocery deliveries/trips. We’re trying to be more conscious of measuring amounts instead of blindly dumping it in, reading product labels to double check measurements rather than blindly filling the thing that comes with the product (like laundry detergent)  and living by The Rule of Half now more than ever. What is The Rule of Half?

The Rule of Half is the idea that you should try to using half the amount of a consumable item than  you would normally use to get the job done (or at least less than you currently do) when it is possible. The item in the container lasts longer which means fewer containers and reduces household waste – and saves a bit of money too.

Sometimes following The Rule of Half is as simple as reading the directions. I used to automatically fill this detergent cup up to the top until I read the instructions that said I should be filling the cup just below the 2 mark for a full load of laundry.

Now my washing machine doesn’t have to work as hard during the rinse cycle which also saves water and eliminates the need for fabric softener.

 

9. I broke out one of the bars of hotel soaps (long story, we got tons of little soaps on our last vacation,  no we didn’t steal them,) I rebatched into one large bar of soap -which we started calling Frankensoap I used personal Greek yogurt containers as soap molds because I didn’t want to deal with a ton of little soap slivers and a big bar of soap lasts longer than a small bar.

 

10. We bought two replacement reusable and washable allergy rated furnace filters like these to use instead of disposable furnace filters I was buying on Amazon Subscribe & Save here.  I bought two so we always have a clean filter monthly while the other is washed and air drying. They will pay for themselves in a month or two and last about 10 years. Sold.

 


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